Belgium main EU importer of kangaroo meat after cruel hunting

Belgium main EU importer of kangaroo meat after cruel hunting
Credit: Unsplash/John Torcasio

A recent Australian report discloses cruel hunting of kangaroo whose meat and skins are exported to among others EU member states.

The report, published by the Parliament of New South Wales, provides evidence that kangaroos are shot at night, in remote areas without scrutiny or enforcement, leading to non-lethal shots that cause horrific injuries and a slow death. If females are killed, dependent joeys endure a cruel and violent death, or are left in the field to suffer exposure to starvation or predation.

Following the report, Eurogroup for Animals and other animal welfare NGOs, sent a joint letter to the Commission, calling for a ban on the import of kangaroo products to the EU.

“The Australian and NSW government admitted to the inquiry that there are no records kept on how many baby joeys are killed every year by the commercial killing of kangaroos,” said Dr Dror Ben-Ami, an ecologist specializing in wildlife biology, in particular kangaroos. “They are the forgotten part of this trade in wildlife.”

“The inquiry report also clearly recognises that the prescribed method of killing in this industry - a single head shot - is not achievable in a real-world scenario, and that there is no monitoring mechanism to ensure the animals have been killed in the least harmful way”, added Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals.

While the import of kangaroo meat and skins to EU member states is relatively small, it has increased in recent years, according to Eurogroup for Animals. Australian export data show that the EU remains the first destination of Australian exports of kangaroo meat, with Belgium in the top accounting for 775 tonnes of imported meat in 2019, valued to €3,3 million or ca one third of the total export.

As the import to Belgium is linked to the Port of Antwerp, not all kangaroo meat is consumed in the country but it is hard to track it in the internal market.

In a resolution last week on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Parliament called for setting higher animal welfare standards, including taking into account the compliance of non-EU countries with the standards, particularly where imported products are concerned.

The Brussels Times

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